Among the many health challenges facing women with breast cancer, new research shows they’re also more likely to experience weight gain, especially after chemotherapy.
Apparently, women who had breast cancer treatments like chemotherapy gain more weight than cancer-free women of the same age up to five years later. That’s according to a new study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
“Our study showed that women diagnosed with breast cancer and those who received chemotherapy to treat their breast cancer gained more weight within the first five years of diagnosis and treatment than cancer-free women,” lead researcher Dr. Kala Visvanathan, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US, said:
According to Visvanathan, the study highlights the need for physicians and their patients, including those with a family history of the disease, to pay closer attention to weight gain during and after treatment.
A total of 303 breast cancer survivors and 307 cancer-free women were recruited for the study – as published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
Overall, cancer survivors who were diagnosed with breast cancer within five years of the start of the investigation gained an average 1.7kg more than women without the disease.
Those diagnosed with non-hormone sensitive invasive cancer gained 3.3kg on average. Of the women given chemotherapy within the previous five years, 21 percent put on at least 5kg.
Co-author Amy Gross, also from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, said: “This is of concern because weight gain of this magnitude in adults has been associated with increased future risk for chronic diseases like coronary heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), and Type 2 diabetes.
Experts have long known that breast cancer patients and survivors gained weight, but fully didn’t understand why.
Meanwhile, Dr. Gijsberta van Londen, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Cancer LiveWell Survivorship Programs, agrees that the study emphasizes the importance of lifestyle on breast cancer patients and survivors. But she urges caution.